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Quebec shouldn't replace Fred la Marmotte with another groundhog: PETA

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Following the death of Fred la Marmotte earlier this week, PETA is asking Quebec's Groundhog Day committee not to replace him with another live marmot.

Fred, the beloved Quebec groundhog tasked with predicting spring's arrival each year, died on Feb. 1, the day before Groundhog Day. He was nine years old.

A child was chosen to take Fred's place Thursday at an event in Val d'Espoir, Que., to give the annual prediction (spring is delayed).

Organizers said that next year, Fred's replacement, a groundhog by the name of Fred Jr., would take the helm.

But PETA is urging them to take another approach.

"And with the blaring voice of an announcer and hooting and hollering from the audience only feet away from the groundhog, these events are frightening and distressing to them," reads a letter signed by Ingrid Newkirk, president of the animal rights organization.

Newkirk made an offer to the late Fred's trainer and the event spokesperson:

"If you commit to no longer using real groundhogs for your event, we’d be happy to provide you with a children’s groundhog costume for future events and delicious vegan hot chocolate for all attendees."

"A child's participation is voluntary and his predictions are as unscientific as a groundhog's," it added.

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